I’m not exaggerating when I say that the chandelier in our dining room was nasty dirty and desperately needed some love.  It’s really no mystery how it got that way – we’ve lived here for almost 7 years and I think I briefly attempted to clean it once before realizing how much the job sucked and deciding I could live with it a little dirty.  And since my last attempt to clean it, we have had the plaster in the dining room skim coated (i.e., TONS of plaster dust EVERYWHERE) and the floors refinished (i.e., bunches of airborne sawdust).  Just for kicks, check out this old picture from when the plaster work was done back in 2009 – yep, it’s been that long since the chandelier’s been shined up … and look at the dust!

Our (really dirty) chandelier after the plaster work in the dining room.

For some reason, though, the filth on the chandelier never really bothered me until we moved the furniture back into the dining room after the floors were refinished and the new window treatments were installed.  I’m thinking maybe it was just because there were other, more obnoxious things (like the teal green fabric on the window seat) that I focused on instead.  Regardless, the lack of glittery-ness on our chandelier was really bugging me and I decided it was time to finally do something about it.  See the film on all the crystals.  Yuck.

Our (super dirty) crystal chandelier.

Our (super dirty) crystal chandelier.

The problem was that I wasn’t sure exactly how to clean the chandelier.  It’s original with the house and I’d definitely put it in the category of delicate, so while it seemed like I would get the best results by taking the individual crystals off of the chandelier and washing each of them by hand, I was hesitant to do so.  It seemed like the little wire hooks would suffer a bunch of casualties if I tried bending them a little to unhook each crystal and then again when the crystals were hung back up.  Plus, that just sounds like a lot of work.  So, I ruled out that option.  I also considered trying again the approach I’d attempted before, which was to spray down the chandelier with Windex (which I’ve since read is a really BAD idea since it can darken all of the metal on the chandelier) and then try to individually wipe down each crystal … but the last time I tried that, the little hooks for the crystals kept getting snagged in the cloth I was using to wipe the Windex off, which was a major pain.  So, I did what any girl would do … I Google’d it.

And I actually found what turned out to be a really great solution:  Brilliante Crystal Chandelier Cleaner.  It had a bunch of glowing reviews and using it sounded super easy – just spray down the chandelier and let it drip itself clean.  What’s not to like, right?  So I decided to give it a try and ordered a bottle from Amazon.  At about $20 a bottle, it’s probably the most expensive cleaner I’ve ever bought, but I figured it would be totally worth it if it worked … and it did!

The Brilliante chandelier spray cleaner I ordered off Amazon.

I started by making sure all of the light bulbs in the fixture were completely tight (so that the cleaner couldn’t get anywhere it didn’t belong).  I then put out towels and old sheets all over the dining room table and surrounding area on the floor since I’d read that overspray could be a problem.

Covering the table, etc. in towels to catch overspray.

I’m really glad I took the time to cover up more than just the area immediately below the chandelier since it took a bit of practice with the spray bottle to figure out how to get the majority of the cleaner on the chandelier and not flying through the crystals to land on the wall/floor on the opposite side of the room.  In my case, I got the best results when I adjusted the sprayer nozzle to more of a wide angle and then sprayed slightly down onto the chandelier rather than directly at it.

I fully coated the chandelier (with the light off) and let it drip dry for about 20 minutes.  I was really glad I’d placed several towels over the dining room table – it dripped a lot and my towels got pretty soaked.  After the 20 minutes were up, I thought the chandelier looked pretty good, but the instructions on the bottle mentioned a second cleaning might be needed if the chandelier started out really dirty and I figured if mine hadn’t qualified as really dirty, I didn’t know what would.  So, I sprayed the chandelier down again and let it dry completely.  It’s hard to make out in the photo, but, at this point, it was raining all over the towels on the table.

The (already cleaner!) chandelier.

I would say it took longer than to 20 minutes mentioned on the bottle for the chandelier to completely dry – there were still some drips hanging off the bottom of our crystals after that amount of time (although it wasn’t really dripping onto the towels on the table any longer).  After about an hour, though, the chandelier looked pretty dry.  I was still a little nervous about turning the light on, though, in case any of the cleaner had gotten into the light bulb sockets or something, so I waited until this morning to turn the light on for the first time.  And all I can say is wow!

Clean & Sparkly Chandelier!

I knew the chandelier was dirty, but I had no idea what we were missing out on.  The light is so much brighter now … and so glittery.  I am amazed at the difference.

Before - super dirty chandelier

After - clean and glittery chandelier.

As a side note, while I was waiting for the chandelier to drip itself clean, I also decided I should clean the little crystals hanging off of our matching wall sconces.  They weren’t nearly as dirty as the chandelier – I’ve cleaned them more recently, I think – but I didn’t want to spray them directly since I figured there’d be no way I’d avoid soaking the wall, floor, etc.  So, for those, I just sprayed the cleaner on a microfiber cloth and wiped down the crystals individually.

Wall sconces that I cleaned with a rag soaked in cleaner.

Although the cleaner worked fine this way (sprayed on a cloth), I honestly feel like the chandelier feels cleaner and shinier after dripping dry as compared to the sconces, which I wiped down by hand.  I really can’t figure that one out.

Regardless, though, I’m super happy with the results.  In less than an hour and with just a little prep work (to lay out towels and sheets), the chandelier and sconces in the dining room are sparkling clean.  It just doesn’t get much better than that!

Clean and Sparkly Chandelier

Clean and Sparkly wall sconces

I still have a little more than half a bottle of cleaner left and I’m debating giving it a go with the flush mount crystal light hanging in our foyer as well as the chandelier hanging over the stairs … I’m concerned that the drip dry part may be a gigantic mess in either of those locations, though, so I’m still planning my attack.

Overall, I just feel like this is a really neat product and I’m super thrilled with the results.  While I really hope we’re done with plaster dust and saw dust for a long while, I certainly won’t procrastinate cleaning up the light next time around!

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One thought on “The Easiest Way to Clean a Crystal Chandelier … EVER!

  1. JoAnn Martielli says:

    Just discovered your chandelier story today and I find it wonderfully helpful. Had been thinking of trying Brilliante cleaner and now will with great expectations! Thank you !

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